Monday, June 18, 2012

cold steel

We were driving through June fog to fulfill my firstborn’s destiny. He had waited until he was in high school before we’d let him get his ear pierced, which we felt was reasonable and it bought us some time.  Just a quick call to Dad to officially sign off and he was golden.  My husband was on a conference call and not in the mindset to deal with this life altering teen moment. 
Forget it.  You will regret it for the rest of your life.
We were nearing the last Marin exit before the bridge. I pulled off to mediate and call for backup: my younger sister and my husband’s younger stepbrother. Both weighed in heavily on my son’s side.  This being that not only was ear piercing OK, but also that getting both ears pierced was the norm. I got back on 101 and headed for the city in the hopes that my husband would see that this was going to happen eventually anyway, even if it wasn’t today.  I scored a George Costanza parking spot off Haight and my husband called back. 
Okay, one, but make sure he gets the right one, or the correct one, you know? 
Gender identity issues weren’t the problem; now my son was insisting that a single earring was for dorks and that we were dorks. 
Alright, get back in the car. Let’s go back home.
As I turned onto Masonic the phone rang again.
I took a poll in the office and the younger people say that getting just one ear done is a little dorky.  So, I guess two is fine.
Now I had to find another parking spot. 
At Anubis Warpus their piercer didn’t come in until 2. They recommended Mom’s down the street.  At Mom’s the Amazonian pink haired Betty Page wouldn’t do it because my 14 year old didn’t have a picture ID.  Soul Patch doesn’t pierce minors, period.  Who thought a suburban housewife would be the most permissive person on Haight Street?
Since I was with him and it was only lobes, the two men at Cold Steel were lenient. Both were ambitiously modified, each embellished with ink, facial piercings, and earplugs. Our piercer could have been plucked right off the Black Pearl, complete with limp. He was only lacking a monkey. Maybe this was for my benefit, but the pirate made a big point of how he always checks with his mom before he gets anything new done. Except the time he forgot when he got his tribal chin tattoo.
After ribbing my boy about becoming a man today – the other guy insisted ‘that costs extra’- the pirate was all business. Noting that his left lobe was thicker and slightly higher, he dotted his lobes with ink to check placement. The aesthetics were key.  All the while, the pirate was quick to dispense worldly sage advice: Girls have cooties.
Then it was done. With his red curls pulled back in a low ponytail, showcasing the new steel hoops of (young) manhood, my boy needed ‘za.  We celebrated with two slices.  Then he called his Dad.


Mary Allison Tierney's essay The Gingerdreadman is included in the anthology Mamas Write, available at Amazon, or your local independent bookshop.

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